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Digital
As-Salamu Alaykum
Premium
join:2000-07-24
Cleveland, OH

Where to start?

I apologize in advance if this has been asked a thousand times before, but I'd like to ask again since a search hasn't brought up exactly what I'm looking for.

I'd first like to explain my situation a little. I've always been interested in radio in one way or another, ever since I was a little kid. I started off on CB radio, then I started listening to the police scanner, etc. I've always wanted to go further than that, but I've never really known where to start learning. I've been studying off and on for a few weeks now to get my amateur license, but I don't feel that I am learning what I need to learn. I guess I don't really know what I should be learning, or where I should be learning it from.

Unfortunately, I do not know anyone who has their license, so I'm pretty much on my own at this point and I kinda feel like I should reach out to the fine people here at BBR and see if they've got any pointers.

I truly appreciate any advice that I get, and I thank you all in advance.

-Rob
--
Cædite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.



Jahntassa
What, I can have feathers
Premium
join:2006-04-14
Conway, SC
kudos:4

I was already somewhat familiar with FCC rules, electronics, and radio in general, but to be honest I passed my technical by taking practice exams online and looking over the questions. Then i'd ask myself which of the answers seemed the most logical. None of them are really 'trick' questions, so if you study them and think them through, it's not so bad.

General, I didn't quite get. I was close though. That exam had more regulatory questions on it than electrical / radio, so be prepared for that. At this point I can really only afford 2m/70cm, so Technical is fine. Once I can get into the money to really afford HF i'll go back for general.

KK4KSV



Frostbite

join:2000-06-13
Marlborough, MA
reply to Digital

I learned by using the ARRL Red Book, and I combined that learning with practice tests online - the reputable ones use the actual FCC question pool, which is publicly posted. I was a fan of the AA9PW practice tests.

For progressing from Techinician to General, much of the same. It took me a bit longer, though, but I finally got through it.

I haven't continued on to Amateur Extra yet. Honestly, I want to get a lot more experience operating in HF before I move on up. And it seems like there's a lot more math and polar coordinates involved.

I would strongly recommend taking your General class exam right after passing your Technician class exam. Because the $15 fee is for the seating and not for the individual exam, you can take one after the other at no cost. You may get lucky and pass, but even if you don't, you now have an understanding of what may come up the next time.

KA1FOX (General / ARRL VE)
--
-Frosty, KA1FOX



DrStrange
Technically feasible
Premium
join:2001-07-23
West Hartford, CT
kudos:1
reply to Digital

I second the recommendation of the AA9PW practice exams, with a caveat: Take the time to learn the material on the exams rather than just memorizing the questions.

Your situation sounds somewhat similar to mine, except I know people who had their licenses before I did. I spent 40 years lurking on HF and Public Safety and was very active on CB back when that was popular. I wanted to get my ham license when I was much younger, but I just never got around to it, so I was familiar enough with the rules and the theory and even CW to an extent. I spent a couple of weeks reviewing online in July, 2010 and took and passed Tech, General and Extra. I spent a lot of time after getting my ticket lurking as well, except for a few VHF nets and random contacts with people I know. I'm just beginning to be more active now outside of that context.

It looks like there are at least 2 clubs in your area:
»www.leara.org/
»www.2cars.org/

73 and good luck,
AB1NH



Digital
As-Salamu Alaykum
Premium
join:2000-07-24
Cleveland, OH
reply to Digital

Thank you for all of your answers, once the AA9PW website is back up I'll take a look at it for an overall look see.

Also, is this the ARRL red book? »www.arrl.org/shop/Ham-Radio-Lice···Edition/ If so, I'll be buying it and taking this one step further.

Thanks again for all of your answers, hopefully I will have my call sign soon enough!
--
Cædite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.



DrStrange
Technically feasible
Premium
join:2001-07-23
West Hartford, CT
kudos:1

Since the AA9PW site seems to be down, the next best site is qrz.com. The practice tests are under 'resources'.



drjim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-06-13
Long Beach, CA
kudos:3
reply to Digital

Buy a set of the Gordon West books if you want to learn fast with a minimum of explanation, or buy a set of the ARRL books if you want good, solid technical explanations of why the answers are what they are.

Jim
--
One man's Magic is another man's Engineering.



GeekNJ
Premium
join:2000-09-23
Waldwick, NJ
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Digital

Another place to get started is get in contact with a local amateur radio club. Your profile shows Cleveland so I'm sure there are at least a few in your area.

»www.carc.cc/nets/starnet.html is one club and the link is to a weekly "net" you can probably listen to if you have a scanner. A net is a scheduled time on a repeater that folks get on the air to just chat or talk about a specific subject area. Just program your scanner for 147.180 and it should pick up any repeater activity on that repeater.

»www.arrl.org/find-a-club would allow you to find other clubs in your area.

You also have a large ham radio store in your area that you can pop into and speak with folks: AES @ 28940 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44092 - Map Link

I personally feel that passing the tech test was not difficult and you learn so much more AFTER passing the test that I wouldn't obsess so much on learning all the details on everything before taking the test. The hobby is vast and there are so many different areas to get involved in that you'll end up gravitating to those that you enjoy and that's when you'll get into the nitty gritty of those areas.

I hope you do proceed with taking the Tech exam as it's a great hobby!

David - K2DSL
--
Tweaked your connection? | Mail Parse | Speed Converter



SmokChsr
Who let the magic smoke out?
Premium
join:2006-03-17
Saint Augustine, FL

1 recommendation

reply to Digital

You can also use the flash cards at hamexam.org, when you miss a question research it and figure out why.

Even though I already have extra class, I like to go back there from time to time and go through 50 or so. Even after 35 years in radio professionally I still miss a few, and have to look and see what I forgot.



aSic
application specific
Premium
join:2001-05-17
Wakulla, FL
Reviews:
·Comcast

said by SmokChsr:

Even though I already have extra class, I like to go back there from time to time and go through 50 or so. Even after 35 years in radio professionally I still miss a few, and have to look and see what I forgot.

Makes me wonder if I could pass my Extra exam again today. Never have taken my HF rig out of its box yet. Was given to me by my dad when I passed General. *shrugs*

AF4FA
--
Teamwork is a lot of people doing what I say.


SmokChsr
Who let the magic smoke out?
Premium
join:2006-03-17
Saint Augustine, FL

said by aSic:

Makes me wonder if I could pass my Extra exam again today.

Hamexam.org does have practice tests, just select the test mode rather flash card. Then you get to take it just like an exam, and as many exams as you like. Then you get to see what percentage of times you pass.

I just prefer the flash card mode since it will keep throwing the ones you missed back at you! It keeps track of all your stats for every question and also by exam section, so you can quickly determine your weak area's. My weak areas are general operation, and rules. I'd do much better if they asked about part 73 instead of 97.. darn the luck


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to Digital

Don't just memorize using the practice tests.

Take time to learn the material. It will pay off, trust me.

Gordon West is a good recommendation.

Clubs are a big YMMV. GeekNJ's club is awesome - they have a large membership and are very active and have knowledgeable people. I would have joined but I live too far.

Some other clubs are pretty dead. Find one that fits you.

The license IS just a starting point mind you. You learn a lot by actually doing, and don't be afraid when you do actually get on the air...